Last time we checked in on the saga of Melanie Mills, a.k.a. Lisa Hackney, a.k.a. Elisabeth von Hullessem, now calling herself Raswitha Elisabeth Melanie Mills, this outrageously bizarre literary scammer and alleged mother-murder attempter had been extradited to the USA from Canada, and was sitting in an Arkansas jail awaiting sentencing on six charges of failure to appear (jumping bail back in 1999), first-degree battery (pinning her mother to a picnic table with a car), aggravated assault (ditto), and theft of property (embezzling part of her mother's estate and kiting bad checks).
On February 10, 2006, she pleaded guilty to all six charges, and was sentenced to two prison terms in the Arkansas Department of Correction, one of 15 years and one of 10 years, to run concurrently.
However, she won't do any jail time.
Well, according to this article in the Northwest Arkansas Times, all but 23 months of the 15-year sentence was suspended, and all but 22 months of the 10-year sentence was suspended, and she was credited with the 23 months she served in Canadian jails awaiting extradition. I can't speak to the logic behind this; I assume that Arkansas was not eager to house and feed another prisoner, and since Hackney has Canadian citizenship, was just as happy to bundle her off to the Great White North and let the Mounties deal with her. So, having been returned to the US by means of much paperwork and, presumably, expense, she has been deported back to Canada.
Have we heard the last of our favorite wacky scammer? I don't think so.
For one thing, scammers don't generally change their stripes. Hackney has repeatedly attempted the same kinds of scams; she has even used the same aliases. I'm confident she'll show up on the Writer Beware scamdar again at some point (and you can bet that we'll be watching.)
For another thing, Hackney still has literary aspirations. That's right, folks--she has written a book (or, if you want to get technical, another book, if we count the vanity-published Sins). And she's trying to sell it.
According to reliable sources, several (reputable) literary agents have received a (poorly written) book proposal from one Raswitha Elisabeth Melanie Mills for something called The MM Journal. It's the tale of "Melanie Mills (Literary Agent); Elisabeth von Hullessem (Banff Writer's Conference); Lisa Hackney (fugitive); L.R. Thomas (author of the novel 'Sins'). Based on her life story, 'The MM Journal' is about a German aristocratic family with its torrid, dirty little secrets." Its heroine is "a woman who desperately attempted to live the so called 'American dream life'...[but was] unable to escape fate no matter how hard she tried." Among other things, the book proposes to explain the events of MM's life, such as the attempted mother-squashing ("One fateful night after a bizarre chain of events, her mother, the Countess von Hullessem, who ultimately grew to hate her daughter so much through no fault of her own, and MM have a horrible confrontation in November of 1999, resulting in the Countess partially pinned beneath MM's car"), and MM's many failed ventures, such as the Melanie Mills Literary Agency ("...the economy bottomed out due to the Iraqui war. Suddenly, publishers were not interested, let alone buying, manuscripts from new, un-established writers") and the writers' conference in North Carolina ("people were not vacationing due to a deadly Asian flu outbreak and Mad Cow's Disease by now and the failing economy").
I swear I am not making this up.
Hey, MM--if you're discouraged by the rejections you've received so far, I've got an agent referral for you. Why not query Barbara Bauer?